check mark image with workersOregon Senator Jeff Merkley and U.S. Representative Bill Foster of Illinois introduced the Investor Choice Act earlier this month. The bill would prohibit broker dealers and investment advisors from forcing investors to agree to mandatory arbitration. The bill also prevents brokers dealers and investment advisors from forcing investors to waive the right to bring a class action lawsuit. The Senate’s version of the bill is available here

The North American Securities Administrators Association (NASAA) and Public Investors Advocate Bar Association (PIABA) endorsed the legislation. SEC Commission Chairman Gary Gensler said during his confirmation hearing that investors should be able to chose to go to court to resolve disputes.

Most agreements with individual investors in the financial services industry force customers into arbitration. Many investor advocates want investors to have the option of pursuing claims in court. Arbitration lacks the transparency of court and is sometimes cost prohibitive.

Popular online stock trading platform, Robinhood, was slapped with federal lawsuits in both New York and Illinois on Thursday, January 28, 2021 by independent investors in potential class actions. Now, numerous other putative class actions have been filed against Robinhood. The lawsuits stem from Robinhood’s decision to block their users from purchasing GameStop shares, in addition to the shares of several other companies.

It is unclear if and how these cases will proceed. Marcia Brown of The American Prospect provides an in depth look at these cases and how they may be impacted by forced arbitration clauses that corporations are using to protect themselves and how Congress could fix these issues in the article “How the Supreme Court Protects Robinhood.”

This blog is intended to provide information to the general public and to practitioners about developments that may impact Oregon class actions.

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A federal judge in California ordered DoorDash to individually arbitrate employment misclassification claims brought by more than 5,000 food couriers rejecting its request to stay the proceedings. The judge called the company’s actions “hypocricy” in requiring workers to sign arbitration agreements and then seeking classwide litigation. The decision to compel 5,010 couriers to arbitration comes as a blow to DoorDash, which asked the court to put on ice the consolidated federal suit accusing it of misclassifying thousands of couriers while a California state court decides whether to preliminarily approve a $39.5 million settlement in an overlapping case.

In a written order issued after Monday’s hearing, the judge granted the couriers’ motion to compel arbitration for 5,010 couriers and ordered DoorDash to “immediately commence” arbitrating with the couriers via the American Arbitration Association. Judge Alsup denied the motion as to 869 couriers who merely submitted witness statements. “For decades, the employer-side bar and their employer clients have forced arbitration clauses upon workers, thus taking away their right to go to court, and forced class-action waivers upon them, too, thus taking away their ability to join collectively to vindicate common rights,” the judge wrote in his order. “The employer here, DoorDash, faced with having to actually honor its side of the bargain, now blanches at the cost of the filing fees it agreed to pay in the arbitration clause.” “No doubt, DoorDash never expected that so many would actually seek arbitration. Instead, in irony upon irony, DoorDash now wishes to resort to a classwide lawsuit, the very device it denied to the workers, to avoid its duty to arbitrate,” the judge continued. “This hypocrisy will not be blessed, at least by this order.”

While the plaintiffs claimed they already paid their fees to the American Arbitration Association, DoorDash has allegedly refused to pay its share by AAA’s deadlines due to purported “deficiencies” in the couriers’ arbitration demands, which resulted in the AAA effectively freezing the couriers’ cases, according to the arbitration petition. The couriers claim that DoorDash and its lawyers were working to impose a new arbitration agreement that purports to supersede the previous version and significantly changes the rules for how and where the arbitration proceedings will be conducted from what the couriers had initially agreed to, they alleged in court filings.

The cases are Terrell Abernathy et al. v. DoorDash Inc., and Christine Boyd et al. v. DoorDash Inc., case numbers 3:19-cv-07545 and 3:19-cv-07646, in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California.

This blog is intended to provide information to the general public and to practitioners about developments that may impact Oregon class actions.

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Last week, the full House passed the Forced Arbitration Injustice Repeal Act (FAIR), HR 1423, to end forced arbitration. The bill, which passed by a 225–186 vote, prohibits predispute arbitration agreements that require arbitration of future employment, consumer, antitrust or civil rights disputes, as well as allows individuals, workers and small businesses to bring joint, class or collective action in these disputes.

American Association for Justice CEO Linda Lipsen said in a statement:  “Mandatory arbitration ‘allows large corporations to systematically evade accountability when they break the law,’” Lipsen added, “When this bill passes both houses of Congress, corporations will no longer be allowed to immunize themselves and silence employees, consumers, nursing home residents, sexual assault survivors and victims of financial fraud.”

This blog is intended to provide information to the general public and to practitioners about developments that may impact Oregon class actions.

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The leader of the nation’s largest veterans’ service organization expressed concern over the loss of financial protections for veterans and service members in the wake of a U.S. Senate late night vote on Wednesday.

Continue reading “The America Legion has asked President Trump to veto the recently passed bill undercutting the CFPB rule on forced arbitration”

Senate Republicans narrowly passed a resolution to kill a recently adopted Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) rule prohibiting financial firms from requiring customers to resolve any disputes with the firms through individual arbitrations.

Continue reading “Senate Republicans kill CFPB rule banning forced arbitrations”

Please contact your senator and ask them to vote against S.J. Resolution 47 — Equifax and Wells Fargo’s get-out-of-jail-free card.

David Lazarus, a business reporter for the L.A. Times, wrote an article stating that consumers are just now becoming aware of the forced arbitration issue because of the Equifax attempt to force consumers whose data had been stolen to waive their right to bring cases in court by inserting a forced arbitration clause in the small print of a credit monitoring product that was offered as a remedy for the breach.

Continue reading “L.A. Times says Equifax forced arbitration clause is not the outrage, it is all the others”

The U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the Ninth District recently reversed a District Court decision that forced Verizon customers into an arbitration against a different company, Turn, Inc.

Continue reading “9th Circuit Court of Appeals reverses order requiring arbitration”

A recent article in the Huffington Post explains why the CFPB Rule banning forced arbitration is so important.  Here is the link.

The Economic Policy Institute just released a fact sheet debunking industry claims that consumers recover more money in arbitration than class actions.

Continue reading “Economic Policy Institute issues report saying average consumer does better in a class action than in arbitration”

CBS News recently published an article on how forced arbitration harms consumers.

Continue reading “CBS News does great piece on how forced arbitration harms consumers”

On the April 11, 2017, BBC World News Program, the announcer told a reporter for the Atlantic that traditionally in the United States, if a group of consumers were being treated unfairly by a large corporation, it might result in a lawsuit.

Continue reading “BBC World News connects passenger being dragged off of United Airlines plane to unequal bargaining power between consumers and corporations in America as a result of forced arbitration clauses”

A proposed class action filed in California federal court alleges that Uber’s upfront pricing model charges passengers a higher fare based on a longer route, but requires drivers to take the shortest route, allowing Uber to pocket the difference.

Continue reading “Class action alleges that Uber charges consumers for longer route than it pays drivers”

LikeIn her tweet on what happens when you click on “Agree” to terms and conditions, Vivian Connell lists the types of terms you are agreeing to, including the line: “Settlements will be determined by an arbitrator who gets kickbacks from us.”

Continue reading “Vivian Connell tweet is dark comedy relating to privacy laws”

Magnifying Glass Over Contract PapersA National Labor Relations Board judge ruled that Sprouts Farmers Markets LLC had violated federal labor law by requiring its workers to sign an arbitration agreement containing a class waiver.

Continue reading “NLRB judge holds grocery chain’s class action waivers were unenforceable”

Law and justice concept, gavelThe American Association for Justice recently issued a report describing how forced arbitration undercuts women’s rights.  Here is a link to the article.

Magnifying Glass Over Contract PapersA National Labor Relations Board judge applied the controversial D.R. Horton decision in her ruling that an arbitration agreement that did not expressly bar workers from bringing class or collective actions still violated federal labor law because it had the practical effect of doing so.

Continue reading “NLRB judge rules forced arbitration agreement without class action waiver unenforceable”